* Posts by Rebel Scot

2 posts • joined 19 Mar 2014

NASA: Earth JUST dodged comms-killing SOLAR BLAST in 2012

Rebel Scot

Re: Really?

Carrington Event in 1859 was last major solar storm to significantly impact Earth. At that time, no electrical grid existed, no solid state electronics were in use, no satellite navigation or comms systems existed, etc. So...our best indication of the likely effects comes from observed damage to telegraph wires that existed in 1859. In general, they were extensively damaged, resulting in multiple fires and lots of destroyed wiring. Specific effects on a localized basis will probably vary, but certain things are highly likely on a widespread basis: long transmission lines will induce very large voltage surges that damage transformers, effectively disabling our power grids. Imagine society without electricity, but also without the less sophisticated ways of getting things done that electrical appliances have displaced. No pumps to distribute water in urban centers, or to remove sewage. No heating for many homes. No refrigeration to keep perishable foods fresh. Urban centers quickly (within a week?) become untenable without electrical power.

Rebel Scot

Re: Remember it's a low probability event *until* it's actually happening

I sense a possible lack of understanding about the physical effects of such an event. In general, it will induce high voltages (and resultant high currents) in wires, particularly in long transmission lines. National grid or regional grid - makes little real difference; transformers connected to the grid at the time will almost certainly be disabled by the voltage surge induced in long transmission lines. What's needed is some warning and a method of very promptly disconnecting major equipment from the transmission grid. (Longer lines induce greater voltages; short lines induce much lower voltages.)

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